orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Sports Headlines

May 31, 2013

With words and a look, James lifts Heat, 90-79

MIAMI — LeBron James said a few words at halftime to try and coax something more out of the Miami Heat. Turns out, whatever he said was unnecessary.

The look on his face was all the Heat needed.

With a brilliant third quarter, James immeasurably changed not just Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, but quite possibly whatever's still left to decide in this series. James scored 16 of his 30 points in the decisive period, Udonis Haslem added 16 and the Heat pulled off a second-half rally to move one win away from the NBA Finals after beating the Indiana Pacers 90-79 on Thursday night.

"With LeBron, it's not what he says all the time," Haslem said. "It's just the look he gives."

And that look was back when the Heat needed it most, just like last year.

A year ago, the Heat lost Game 5 of the East finals at home to Boston, and needed a road win to extend the series and save what became a championship season. James scored 45 points in that win-or-else game against the Celtics, and the expression on his face — a steely stare, chilling and emotionless — is simply known around the Heat now as "The Look," immortalized by a larger-than-life photo on the wall leading to the team locker room.

This year, Game 6 of the East finals won't be accompanied by the potential for dire consequences. The Heat lead the series 3-2, with a chance to finish it off in Indiana on Saturday night and move on to a finals matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.

"That's what I came here for, to be able to compete for a championship each and every year," James said. "I'm one step away from doing it once again. It's not promised. It's not promised at all. I made a tough decision. Obviously, I think we all know the story. I envisioned something that was bigger as far as a team ... and we've got an opportunity as a team, once again, for the third year straight to make a trip to the NBA Finals."

Indiana was up 46-40 early in the third, surely sensing a chance to grab control of the series. Over the next 11 minutes, the Heat outscored the Pacers 30-10, with James either scoring or accounting for 25 Miami points. He shot 7 for 10 in the third quarter; the Pacers shot 3 for 14. He had four rebounds in the quarter; the Pacers, as a team, grabbed six. He had four assists in the quarter; the Pacers had one.

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